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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 28, 2016

2/23/2012 9:46:00 AM
Northeastern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act needs to be rethought

To the editor:

Senator Jon Kyle has succeeded in corralling all the horses, he has introduced a bill to enact the Northeastern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act (NAWRA), formerly called the Little Colorado River Settlement.

The rush to introduce the bill before the Hopi Tribal Council endorsed the agreement in principle and before it is presented and explained to the Hopi-Tewa Senom could very well jeopardize Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa's political credibility and career.

When a news reporter informed that the introduction of the bill was imminent, I wrote and delivered a letter to the Chairman's office, and then to the Vice Chairman when I learned that the Chairman was not available.

I advised the Chairman to call Senator Kyle immediately to inform him that his actions are premature.

The water settlement negotiations will continue to work out the details to the agreement in principle. Any substantive change will not be lineated by the Senator.

The hearings on the bill will not happen soon, especially during the presidential election year, but that does not matter. The important thing is the bill is at Congress and the Senator will continue to have a powerful influence in passing the bill, especially if the Republicans gain control and the White House and Congress.

The NAWRA is not in the best interest of the Hopi Tirbe for many reasons that Black Mesa Trust will be explaining to the public.

It is, however, in the best interest of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, a state agency which operates the central Arizona project that delivers water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson, using cheap electricity generated by the Navajo Generating Station.

The Salt River Projoect (SRP), another state agency that owns a large share of NGS and is the operator of the station, will be another major beneficiary.

Senator Kyle is former lawyer-lobbyist for SRP, which is one of the biggest public utility companies in the U.S. His actions will add another level of controversy to NGS and the Black Mesa Coal mining.

Vernon Masayesva

Kykotsmovi, Ariz.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Article comment by: Rita Mizell

Senator Kyle is pushing this bill through to make a name for himself. I do not agree with the bill especially the propose arm twisting solution to accept the coal company keeping operating in exchange for the Colorado River water rights. We do not want the coal company operation. We are entitled to the Colorado River and have used it long before Christopher Columbus arrived...so why should we give up those rights. If anything, we should be compensated for those who use the Colorado because we, the Native Americans, had/have ownership.

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